The Written Torah on the Stones on Mount Ebal

Meir Bar-Ilan

Part of the ceremony described in Deut. 27:1-26 will be considered here. The main study deals with the question: what was the Torah that was written on the stones on Mount Ebal? This question is answered with the aid of other stones erected in the Bible on the one hand, and process of ancient Biblical writing on the other hand.

After discussing earlier (classic medieval Jewish and modern) interpretations it is argued that it was not 'all the Torah' that was written on the stones but only the twelve curses that already been spoken in that ceremony.

Different attitudes to the text, literary as well as functional, legal and cultural, reveal the social-religous aim of the written curses: to deter potential transgressors and to expel the sinners from the community.

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last updated: January 25, 1996 - June 29, 2001